Startup life is a balancing act

By Sven Bakkes, Founding Partner LUMO Labs

Work on your performance on stage as well as behind the scenes to get your show on the road.

Let’s be real, if process and paperwork are your passion, you are probably not the founder of an impact-driven emerging tech startup. And that’s okay.

We don’t expect the founders of our portfolio companies to make process and paperwork their passion. But we do expect them to make it a priority.

Early-stage investing is as much about identifying great ideas as it is about supporting the teams behind those ideas to turn these into successful businesses.

At LUMO Labs we are fully committed to maximizing our portfolio companies’ impact, both socially as well as financially. When we invest money, we also invest our time, expertise and network, and we do this for good reason.

It is not uncommon that the founders of our portfolio companies are first time entrepreneurs. We love the go-go energy and drive they bring to show the world how things can be smarter, happier, healthier, cleaner, better.

We want our teams to keep pushing forward, believe in themselves and stay authentic always. Their freshness is priceless for spotting opportunities and their confidence is what makes them reach out to grab it.

We invest our money in opportunities, freshness and confidence. We invest our time, expertise and network to make sure inexperience and hyper-focus don’t get in the way of getting actual results.

We are not the first, nor the last, to say this: “results come from execution.”

We believe good execution is built on efficiency and discipline. At the same time, good execution – especially for early stage startups – requires flexibility and the ability to deal with uncertainty. Good execution means doing the right thing right, at the right time, with the right people.

With the current pace of innovation and urgent need for applicable solutions for global challenges, you can’t afford to trip over known obstacles or head off to the beaten dead-end track to nowhere. Even, or perhaps especially, if it’s your first time round.

Save your repair kit for your own mistakes by not repeating the ones others have already made before you.

Spending time on proper finance, contracting, process and planning from the get-go is crucial to avoid losing valuable time and money along the way.

At LUMO Labs we take a rather firm position on these topics. We provide advice, coaching, formats and we set high standards. We challenge the founding teams of our portfolio companies to lay a solid business foundation rooted in the core of their concept. This supports consistent and effective decision making and successful interaction with the outside world.

That being said, the fact that the outside world can interact with you doesn’t automatically mean that they will. You need to be out there and make sure they want to interact with you.

Our venture advisors and domain experts support our teams to clearly identify their target audience and position in the ecosystem. They will challenge them to look at their value proposition from an outsider’s perspective and to tailor visibility, tone of voice and messaging accordingly.

Having a message is one. Getting it across and getting people on board means doing the right thing, at the right time, with the right people.

The impact of your performance depends as much on what you do on stage as well as what you do behind the scenes. Results come from execution.